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Who is a young carer?

A young carer is a child who looks after or helps to look after someone who has an illness, learning or physical disability, a mental health illness or misuse of drugs or alcohol.

What might a young carer do?

Practical tasks, such as cooking, housework and shopping. Physical care, such as helping someone out of bed. Emotional support, such as talking to someone who is distressed. Personal care, such as helping someone dress. Managing the family budget and collecting prescriptions. Helping to give medicine. Helping someone communicate. Looking after brothers and sisters. Young carers can find that looking after someone takes up a lot of their time; it can sometimes be very difficult for them to cope with everything. School work and attendance may suffer as well as finding time for their friends and other activities.

New figures from BBC News and the University of Nottingham reveal that the extent of caring by children is much higher than had been thought, with 22% of children, who responded to a questionnaire, admitting to being young carers.

This suggests more than one in five children in England carry out some care for sick and disabled family members.

Information for parents of young carers

If you are a parent who thinks their child could be a young carer and needs a bit of extra support you can talk to a teacher at your child’s school or your GP and ask them to make a referral to the Wiltshire Council Families and Children’s Team.

You and your child can now also self refer for an assessment using the Integrated Front Door on 0300 4560108 or

They will then carry out an assessment to ensure you and your family get the help you need. Once this has been completed, if your child is eligible they may be referred to us at Carer Support Wiltshire to take part in activities that will give them a break from their caring role. We work with partners such as Youth Action Wiltshire to provide young carers with breaks, activities and opportunities to learn, aspire and grow.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, all Young Carers under the age of 18 have a right to an assessment from the local authority, regardless of who they care for, what type of care they provide, or how often they provide care.

You can find out more on the Wiltshire Council website here.

For any advice, information or support about this process, or about your a caring role as a parent, please call us on 0800 181 4118 or email  

Information for teachers and school staff

As many as one in six students in every class could be a young carer so it’s incredibly important to identify and support them in schools. Young carers are a vulnerable and disadvantaged group, meaning poor attendance, poorer mental health and bullying are frequently experienced. This affects school attainment and performance.

Identifying and supporting Young Carers can have a huge positive impact on the wellbeing of students who may be struggling, and allow them to feel supported and understood.

We have a range of downloadable resources that can be displayed around your school, or given to students and parents for more information. You can also find key ways teachers and school staff can make schools young carer aware on this page, from designating a carers lead, to implementing a young carers policy.

We have developed a digital pack with information around young carer awareness, identification, case study examples and information around the referral process for teachers and professionals. Find it here.

Referral process – Professionals

If you are a teacher, GP or health professional who has identified a young carer you will need to talk to their parents or guardian about referring them to Wiltshire Council.  Professionals should complete a DART (Diagnostic Assessment and Referral Tool) or SARF (Single Agency Referral Form), which can be found on Wiltshire Pathways website.  SARFs can be sent directly to the team at

You can find out more on the Wiltshire Council website here. 

The assessments are carried out by Wiltshire Council. If the young person is a young carer and their caring responsibilities are having an impact on their day to day lives then a referral will be made to us at Carer Support Wiltshire, who provide support for young carers in Wiltshire. We will then put you in touch with Youth Action Wiltshire, who provide breaks and support for young carers.

Parents and young people can also now self refer for an assessment using the Integrated Front Door on 0300 4560108 or

16 – 18 year olds

At 16, a young carer is also eligible for a transitions assessment. if you are working with a young person aged 16+, you can refer them directly to us at Carer Support Wiltshire to access transition support – for more information around support for 16 – 18 year olds, click here. You can also find our transitions leaflet here.

See below for a map of the referral process.


Visit our Downloadable Resources page for more information on Young Carers in Schools